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All comments by John Brady
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Are the first session results of the Roth Swiss Teams being posted anywhere on the internet?

If so, could someone please post an internet address?
July 26
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David:

Nice little hand. Bridge definitely can be that simple, and that cruel.

We calculate probabilities, then we back our judgment of the best line of play.

We also read the cards and back our judgment of what is the best line of play based on that read.

We do this knowing that bridge can be cruel. The cards may not be that way.

Because bridge is cruel, it also builds character. We have to develop courage - and faith in both ourselves and our partners.

Bridge takes courage because we open ourselves up to criticism whem we take a risk of looking foolish when we don't do what someone else … or everyone else, would do.

Bridge also takes faith - not only in our own judgment, but also in partner and teammates to be supportive, instead of critical, when we follow our best judgment, knowing we will be told that we were wrong and should have seen things differently.
July 26
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Thanks.
July 18
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Any halftime scores in the GNT???
July 18
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Is there a link to follow the GNT results without waiting for the daily tournament bulletin the next day?
July 17
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Thank you, Fred.
July 16
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Dave: Oops, now you tell me?

I'll try to remember in the future.
June 26
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The way I learned it, 3S by Responder in sequence 2 is a game-forcing Spade raise with slam interest because XYZ was available. Since Responder has 2C followed by either 2S or 3S available as invitational bids, there's no need to play sequence 2 as invitational.

One could argue that since Responder has 2D followed by a Spade raise as a game force, there's no need to also play sequence 2 as a game forcing Spade raise. That's reasonable enough.

However, using the immediate jump as game forcing and slam interest has the advantage of immediately clarifying Responder's intentions. it tells Opener to evaluate his hand for slam purposes rather than for the best game.

Playing sequence 2 as a slammish game-forcing Spade raise, there's an inference that bidding 2D before raising Spades means that Responder is open to other contracts, such as 3NT, even with the 8-card Major fit. It also allows for the partnership to assign some subtle distinctions between sequences 1 and 2 above, and between 1C-1H; 1S-4S and 1C-1H; 1S-2D; followed by Responder rebidding either 2S, 3S, or 4S next.
May 16
John Brady edited this comment May 16
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Mark is right. Do players bid “confidently” when they put a 1C or 1D bid on the table? No. They just put it there. Impassively.

If players intentionally bid “confidently” in a competitive auction later rather than with that same impassive demeanor, that's a violation of the rules of the game.

Variations in tempo are rampant in bridge. How many times have we seen an opponent pull their hand from the bidding box and pass before they've even tried to sort it, play a singleton at the speed of lightening, or pass a fraction of a second after an opposing preempt. We unconsciously bid rapidly with a very weak hand or a hand so strong that the decision is automatic, less quickly with more normal hands, slowly when there's a decision to be made, and very slowly when it's a difficult decision. All of that conveys information to partner and opponents.

Similarly, mannerisms can influence partners and opponents: bidding or playing impassively on some hands, “confidently,” “reluctantly,” or “indecisively”

If players vary any of these unintentionally, they convey unauthorized information. There may or may not be a penalty for that.

But if players vary tempo or mannerisms intentionally trying to influence either partner or opponents, they violate the rules of the game.

The laws require players to make tempo and mannerisms so consistent that neither partner nor opponents can tell what they're thinking about, or whether they had something to think about at all.
April 11
John Brady edited this comment April 11
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After 1H-2D. here's some common “rules” we're told to follow:

(1) You can't rebid 2H unless you have 6,
(2) You can't rebid 2S unless you have extra strength,
(3) You can't rebid 2NT unless you have the other suits stopped,
(4) You can't rebid 3C unless you have extra strength,
(5) You can't rebid 3D unless you have four-card D support.
And if you have none of those …
(6) You can't bid.

I'm convinced …

… let's play a game with fewer “rules” and more common sense.
March 7
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Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Dec. 30, 2018
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What did you replace it with? What do you find to be more useful instead of 1M-3m Invitational?
Oct. 10, 2018
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Mike Sr. felt strongly that his way was best. I heard Mike Jr. feels strongly 2M natural and 2C for the Major-minor is better.

When last I counted there were more than 140 defenses, plus variations of each, to choose from. I have one partner who likes one convention against strong in direct seat, another against weak in direct, another in balancing, and another by passed hand. I have partners who like one set of conventions for matchpoints and a different set for imps.

If there were one defense with a clear edge, everyone would play it. The existence of so many confirms my personal experience that there isn't a clear winner.

My own experience is that no matter what you're playing a hand will come up that will make you wish you were playing something else.

I suggest just playing what partner and you BOTH know well and BOTH feel comfortable with - whatever it is. Don't worry about what is theoretically “best”. Be PRACTICAL. Choose the defense that you won't have any misunderstandings or memory problems with.

Save your mental energy for other problems. We all need to save as much as we can for all the other problems of bidding, play, leads, and defense.
Sept. 27, 2018
John Brady edited this comment Sept. 27, 2018
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It's BAM.

On this auction, I think the 1C opener probably is relatively balanced … perhaps 5332 or 4432 … and the Responder probably is likely to be one-suited … perhaps 5332.

The stronger side rates to have at least 26 or 27 HCP, no 8 card Club fit, and no 8-card Spade fit.

If you have a game, it's not clear what game it is, and you have almost no room to find out.

If the other table isn't playing a club system, the opponents have given you a problem the other table doesn't have. However, you have quite a bit of information about the relative strength and shape of both opener and responder, perhaps more than the other table.

Even with a different auction, the other table also may have problems finding the right strain at the right level.

Since responder probably has 2+ Hearts, the weaker side will have only 8 or 9 trump and no more than 13 or 14 HCP. Even Leading trumps may cut down enough ruffs to get them a bigger number than a vulnerable game, if you have one. If you happen to catch the opponents with only 8 Hearts, you're a heavy favorite to get them more than game.

If they have 9 Hearts and enough distribution to get out cheaply in 3Hx, they probably have enough distribution to beat 5 of a minor in your 8-card fit, if you have one, or to take 5 Hearts against 3NT.

If the other table has a natural auction, your teammates may not offer them to chance to double 3H. So you have a chance to win the board that the other table won't have.

And it's BAM!!! Total points or a whole field of other results are not the issue. The only issue is what is most likely to win this board against only one other table.

On the information your side has, the evidence suggests that the best chance to win this board is to pass 3Hx and for the stronger side to lead trump at every opportunity.
Aug. 4, 2018
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Kickback in a suit your side has previously bid naturally would get my vote to be at, or near, the worst possible convention.

The downside is that it multiplies the number of agreements a partnership needs and the number of specific auctions it needs to discuss. It's prone to uncertainty at best, and disaster at worst.

I don't see an upside. Has anybody EVER come back from a tournament and said: “If only we'd been playing Kickback in a suit we'd previously bid naturally, we would have won”?

Does anyone think that not having that bid is likely to be the difference between winning and losing?

Has Kickback in a suit previously bid naturally been raking in the matchpoints or Imps for anyone?

Has it shown even a small net plus in matchpoints or Imps?
July 8, 2018
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If it takes 7 rounds of bidding to get to a slam off two Aces, maybe the system needs to be simplified.

A hidden cost of relays and asking bids is the mental toll it takes, and the time pressure it puts the partnership under, especially at matchpoints. Over the course of one or more sessions, that's a significant cost … at least for us mere mortals … and especially for us aging mere mortals.

I heard Eric Rodwell (!!!) give a talk once about the cost of playing lots of relays and asking bids. He told a story about Helgemo and Helness. They had been playing a relay system. Rodwell said he was really impressed with its accuracy. But they had switched to a more natural system. He asked them why. They said that by the time the bidding was over, they couldn't take their tricks.
June 17, 2018
John Brady edited this comment June 17, 2018
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Whenever a bridge rule uses “always,” alarm bells should start going off in our minds. Bridge is not a game of automatic “always” and “nevers.”

Blackwood said his 13th rule was “THEENK.”

With support doubles, think whether you would have been comfortable raising partner's 1M response on three-card support if the opponents hadn't interfered.
May 17, 2018
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“Eric Kokish probably knows more about bidding than anyone alive in North America today, and he grew up in Montreal. Do you think that, if it was any good, he wouldn't be advocating its use?”

At one time, he did! The first time I learned about the Montreal Relay was from articles written by Eric Kokish back in the 1970s. He wrote one article about it for a Canadian Bridge publication, and another for The Bridge World. Don't remember which I saw first.
May 17, 2018
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For years, I've played a lot of Sectionals in District 9 and District 7. Of course, club game attendance is diminishing. That's a product of the bridge playing generation dying out faster than it's being replaced by new players. But attendance at Sectionals is dying even faster than club games.

In today's ACBL, there are so many club games that award extra points that most players can win as many points at club games as they do at sectionals. If total points were all that mattered, there would be no incentive at all for players to go to sectionals out of town, and very little incentive to attend sectionals even in their own town … and, even worse, at their own club. That's why the ACBL created silver pigmented points for Sectionals and made a number of silver points a requirement for certain ACBL ranking.

It hasn't been much help, but it was better than nothing.

The best solution is youth programs run by teachers like Patty Tucker, and aggressive teaching and marketing programs at every ACBL club.
Dec. 20, 2017
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“Always” and “Never”
Are words we don't use
They only mislead us
And give us the blues
Dec. 20, 2017
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